Angilbert (fl. ca. 840/50), On the Battle Which was Fought at Fontenoy

The Law of Christians is broken,
Blood by the hands of hell profusely shed like rain,
And the throat of Cerberus bellows songs of joy.

Angelbertus, Versus de Bella que fuit acta Fontaneto

Fracta est lex christianorum
Sanguinis proluvio, unde manus inferorum,
gaudet gula Cerberi.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Philip the Chancellor: On the Unity of the Infused Virtues

PHILIP THE CHANCELLOR explores the issue of the unity of the cardinal virtues from he perspective of the infused virtues. While he seems to hold the traditional doctrine that the person who has one natural or acquired virtue must have them all, and the one who must be truly virtuous must have all the natural or acquired virtues, it does not follow that this is true for the infused virtues, even for those infused or supernatural virtues are those parallel to the natural or acquired cardinal virtues.

There are a number of proof texts which Philip the Chancellor invokes as authority that the "one-in-all" theory.  Drawing on St. Jerome's gloss on Ezekiel 1:11 ("And their faces, and their wings were stretched upward: two wings of every one were joined, and two covered their bodies"), Philip noted that St. Jerome stated as to Ezekiel: "He [Ezekiel] said the four virtues are joined to each other so that whoever lacks one lacks all."  (Glossa marg., 4: 1076C).

Similarly, St. Jerome advocates this view in his commentary on Isaiah 16:11 ("Wherefore my bowels shall sound like a harp for Moab, and my inward parts for the brick wall.").  "As a lyre does not emit its complex sound if one of its strings is broken, so if one string of the virtues is absent, it will not resonate sweetly."  Later in the commentary, St. Jerome analogizes the infused virtues to acquired virtues by noting that the "philosophers" held that the acquired virtues "stick together."  He also compares the infused virtues to the moral law and cites St. James' statement (James 2:10) in his epistle ("And whosoever shall keep the whole law, but offend in one point, is become guilty of all."), suggesting that the infused virtues are, like the law, something that must be "one-in-all."  (Glossa marg., 4:181B)

Philip also turns to Pope St. Gregory the Great's Moralia in Job. Therein, St. Gregory notes: "None is truly a virtue if not mixed with the other virtues," and observes, further, that "to the extent that one virtue is joined to another are good deeds more enkindled."*  St. Gregory, like St. Jerome, also interprets James 2:10 as providing evidence that failing "in one point destroys many good deeds," and puts one "outside charity and any other virtue."

In addition to these arguments from authority, St. Philip also brings forth some arguments from reason applied to the faith (in a sort of analogia fidei) that suggest that the infused virtues have an "all in one, one in all" character.  One argument draws from Christ's redemption and its effect on the human soul: "[T]he Lord is a physician who heals no one in part, but wholly."  Since healing comes from the infused virtues, it follows that "all the virtues are infused together."

In another of his arguments based upon analogia fidei (and implicitly drawing from St. Paul's second letter to the Corinthians), Philip the Chancellor looks at the notion of glory and of merit before God: "If grace makes a human worthy of glory," it is because the "human becomes grace before God through virtue given by grace."  "But God is good to the highest degree," Philip notes, and this has implications: "Therefore, there will be no commerce with Belial in one and the same soul."  The conclusion is that "a human will not be graced before God unless possessing the habits of all the virtues; otherwise, there would be commerce between Christ and Belial in one and the same soul."***

The Four Cardinal Virtues in the Paseo del Ayuntamiento, Xalapa, Veracruz, 
by Armando Zavaleta León and Enrrique Guerra

Yet again, Philip argues that if grace makes us worthy of the light glory, and the light of glory (in heaven) "is remuneration and complete happiness," then it seems that "free will is infused with the virtues," and this suggests that one must be infused with all the virtues or none at all.  "For how could desire by worthy of eternity if it did not have meritorious habit, and emotion, and reason as well."  "From this it is clear," Philip concludes, "that whoever has one virtue has all."

In a similar argument, Philip notes that the only part of man that can be reformed by grace is that part within us that is made in the image of God.  The "uncreated Trinity" reforms the "created trinity," and so the soul is measured by the Trinity when it is reformed.  It is obviously unbecoming for the work of the Trinity in the human soul to be incomplete.  "Therefore, in the trinity of powers [in the soul], nothing is left behind lacking reformation, something which happens only by receiving the fullness of all the virtues."

Finally, Philip argues from sin: a virtue without grace and a mortal sin exist together in the rational soul.  "Nonetheless, a virtue of this sort and a mortal sin of this sort are not immediately present together."  The reason for this is that "because if one does not possess the continence [an infused virtue] which comes from grace, it does not following that he possesses the opposing incontinence."  Why this is so is that one can lose the infused virtue of continence "due to another vice, such as avarice."  But if one vice tarnishes the whole, does that mean that there is a "connection among the vices"?  No, there is no such connection among the vices because it is not true that "whoever has one vice has all the vices."  The only explanation for why one vice vitiates all virtue, then, "must come from the connection of the virtues."  This suggests that virtues are an "all in one, one in all" proposition.

Philip obviously is of the opinion that the infused virtues are an "all in one, one in all" proposition.  But before concluding this, he also looks at various opposing authorities that suggest that perhaps the infused virtues are not "all in one, and one in all," but rather something different.  He then disposes of these arguments   We will address this pro-and-con part of Philip the Chancellor's Summa de bono next.  Then our last posting on Philip the Chancellor will be on the issue of charity, and whether this one theological virtue, without any of the others, is sufficient to avail us eternal life.

*The first is a quote to Moralia 1.32.45.  The second appears to be a paraphrase of Moralia 1.32.48.
**This is a paraphrase of Moralia 6:1277B.
***Compare: "What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?" (2 Cor. 6:15)

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